Update at the end of this post:
I'm finding it hard to write tonight, you see, I always use writing to deal with things that seem difficult in my life. That's what I've always done. It's probably saved me untold fortunes in therapist bills, though after you read what I've written here, then you will understand that I really haven't had that much difficulty in my life. In fact, compared to all this, I've led a completely charmed life. Some would say blessed.
It started at the end of 2010 when a young cheerleader went missing from her home in a small town near where I live. Only 13 when she vanished, she was a beautiful girl who should have had a whole lifetime ahead of her. She was just about the same age as my character, Stevie-girl, in The Phantom Pilot. But the difference between Stevie's world (my childhood) and this young girl's world, was like the difference between sand and water. Her mother's boyfriend was the last person known to have contact with this little girl. When they searched inside the house, law officers found hundreds of articles about mass murderers who murdered their families. They also found child pornography and articles about sex and death and how to suffocate someone. No one was ever charged with anything. The girl was never found.
Last year a man driving down Interstate-20 (also near here) choked his four year old son and threw him from the car. A basketball coach taking his own son to an early morning game found the little boy wandering beside the road. He hadn't died, but nurses had to remove over four hundred cactus spines from his little body.
Today I read that a 13 year old boy in our city has been charged with murder in the death of his four year old stepbrother. He is alleged to have run over the boy with a four wheeler and then got out and pushed him down when he tried to get up.
I also read about a 7 year old boy picked up at 1:30 this morning riding his bike down the street. He told officers he was running away from home. When they investigated, they found that he'd been kept in a straight-jacket, and that it was likely that his grandfather is also his father. There were three other children in the home as well.
On the news this evening, they showed the photo of a man who was entrusted to train altar boys. He wasn't a priest, just a helper. He admitted to abusing one of the boys, another 7 year old I believe it said.
I don't go looking for these articles. In fact, each of these incidents occurred within a small radius of my own home. They were all reported on our local evening news or in our newspaper. My sister says this is exactly why she doesn't listen to news, or read the paper anymore. But I can't be an ostrich. I taught students ages 10 - 12 for thirteen years. I know how innocent they are; or how innocent they should be. I don't understand what's happening in our world. Is it because of pornography? Violent movies or video games? Or is there simply an evil force at work in the weak minded, causing them to prey on the most vulnerable members of society?
I don't know. What I do know is this. The missing cheerleader was never located. But today, human remains were found in a field one mile from the home where her mom's boyfriend once lived with his own mother. In fact, he still had a computer at that home. I read that it also contained hundreds of images of child pornography.
Am I the only one kept up at night because of this horror? This doesn't even take into account the ghastly murders outside the Jewish school in France yesterday. I can't get rid of the image of that monster chasing that little girl down and grabbing her by the hair to shoot her in the head. They're all awful, but just knowing that poor child was running for her life . . . it's just unreal. Of course, I could also recall little Caylee Anthony, Jon-Benet Ramsey, and probably dozens more if I tried. But I don't want to try. Perhaps I should become an ostrich, stick my head in the sand. More likely, I'll just keep reading the awful facts, and then writing about them later. What else can I do?
Afterthought: Tonight, I have none.
Update: March 23. The remains found in the field were those of a male, so it was not the little cheerleader. He was someone's son, though, and possibly someone's husband, father, brother, cousin, uncle....